One Week

Over at Jack Bog’s Blog, Sen. Ron Wyden gets kudos for opposing the confirmation of John Rizzo as CIA general counsel because of his legal authorization for “interrogation techniques that stop just short of inflicting pain equal to that accompanying organ failure or even death”.

Of course, Rizzo’s still acting general counsel. He was nominated to the general counsel spot in March but he’s been serving as acting counsel since last year. It’s the seconf time he’s been acting general counsel since 2001. According to the International Herald Tribune: “Rizzo has been acting general counsel off and on for most of the past six years, serving without Senate confirmation.”

I mean, I’m glad he’s not getting confirmed but if he’s going to continue in his position as acting general counsel, I’m not sure that the hold (which got Wyden mentioned in The New Yorker as well) impresses me all that much.

I was intrigued by this comment in the comments there from someone calling themself Tenskwatawa, however:

And the retro-spin being ground out is that Wyden opposed it from the start, whereas I sat ten feet in front of him, Feb. 25, 2003, 3 weeks preliminary and he was selling Iraq invasion, telling ‘town hall’ Oregon City, that definitely, definitely, definitely [quote], “we KNOW Saddam has weapons of mass destruction, VX, nerve gas …,” where I butted in, “there are NO WMD’s in Iraq.” To his face. And Wyden glared at me, blinked, da-blink da-blink [what’s up with his eyelids, anyway?], and continued, “… and we have got to go in and get them out.”

Here’s a piece of an Los Angeles Times article mentioning that meeting and another in Medford (via

In Oregon, Smith heard worries about war during a series of town hall meetings he conducted with Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) last week. At one in Medford, more than half the audience stood up when asked how many had “deep questions” about going to war. At a gathering in Oregon City, a man challenged the wisdom of a preemptive attack on Iraq, asking: “Who appointed us policemen of the world?”

The date in the commenter’s story is off by at least a couple of days (the Times article was published on the 24th), but I wouldn’t mind knowing whether Wyden was actively opposing the war at those meetings. Certainly there’s nothing in his news releases that would indicate a pushback against the war. More research needed.

Here’s one result of a quick LexisNexis search for wyden iraq:

The Oregonian – 9/25/2002 – 436 words
Here is how members of the Northwest delegation stand on President Bush’s request for a resolution against Iraq: Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore.: Says administration should proceed deliberately to deal with threat posed by Saddam Hussein, but also should anticipate consequences for war on terrorism and containment of conflict if…

$3 for anyone who wants it. So, in 2002, Wyden — a member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence — thought that Saddam Hussein posed a threat. It’d be interesting to find out what kind of threat the senator thought he posed. And why. I’m not sure that I’m seeing this as opposition.